Councillor calls for ‘Montrose option’ to counter loss of GP beds

© DC Thomson
Montrose Royal Infirmary.

An Angus councillor is raising his concerns over the imminent closure of GP beds in Montrose Royal Infirmary with the Angus Integration Joint Board.

Tommy Stewart, Independent councillor for Montrose and District, has contacted fellow councillor Derek Wann, Conservative councillor for Arbroath East and Lunan and a member of the IJB, to put forward a number of suggestions.

He said: “I understand the closure of Montrose Infirmary is imminent.

“Further to this, local GPs are saying they are finding it difficult to get patients admitted to Stracathro Hospital.

“I have also heard, once the closure of Montrose Infirmary takes place, three care homes, one from Edzell, Brechin and Montrose, will be asked to tender for the provision of care for patients from the Montrose area requiring admission to a GP ward for up to a period of 90 days.

“As an elected member for Montrose, I feel strongly about this, and feel the only option that should be considered for patients from Montrose and district is a Montrose option.

“In most cases, patients living in Montrose and district would want to be seen by their own doctors.”

He has proposed a four to six bed unit for the elderly and for palliative care adjacent to the Links Health Centre.

“If memory serves me correct, this was a possibility many years ago as a replacement for Montrose Infirmary, which subsequently fell by the wayside, with staff allegedly happy to stay in the outdated facility.

“It would save our GPs valuable time that would be lost by having to travel to and from care homes, allowing more time to be spent attending to those requiring medical services.

“The Montrose minor injuries unit, which is also earmarked for closure, would be an ideal building, and staff from the Montrose Infirmary could also be utilised here.

“Surely, long term, this would be a far cheaper option than putting it out to contract, which would cost a fortune, and put more financial burden on the already stretched budgets of the NHS.

“We have a bigger community than Brechin and Edzell, who have easier access to get to Stracathro, so please use common sense, consider the facts and please don’t let the people of Montrose down.

Gail Smith, Head of Community Health & Care Services (North Angus), Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, said, “The changes to inpatient services and the development of Intermediate Care beds in North East Angus are part of the planned changes for the development of the Angus Care Model.

“There is no scope or plan for the development of a small inpatient facility in Montrose, as this would replicate many of the current problems experienced in terms of sustaining a safe and effective service, and would be unviable.

“We will continue to work with local practitioners in terms of the extension of Enhanced Community Services (ECS), and the introduction of Intermediate Care beds in care homes.

“GPs in Montrose have arrangements in place to admit patients to Stracathro Hospital in partnership with consultant colleagues.”